Which is to say, you can read my review and revelatory riffs, no ego here, right, on "The Fabelmans and Armageddon Time or Should You Prefer, the Birth of the Artist" here and / or you may also read some excerpt below. Please most definitely see both these movies as well, especially Armageddon Time, yo, because they will most definitely change your life.
"When I was a kid my father told me a story about the father of one of my friends who he was friends with. This other kid’s father had wanted to be an artist when he was a child and one day as he and his father were out for a walk in the Bronx or Brooklyn or wherever in New York City they lived, this friend’s father told his father that he wanted to be an artist. The father’s father, a poor immigrant Jew from Russia replied: 'You want to be an artist?' He then did a pirouette and said, 'and maybe I’ll become a dancer.'
"The friend’s father did not become an artist. He did become a major art historian however, who published his dissertation to great acclaim and never looked back, publishing dozens of books in his lifetime.
"Would he have been an artist if his father had supported or encouraged him to become one?
"That answer is lost to history, but the question of how we create art, and maybe more importantly, how we become artists at all is at the heart of this anecdote.
"My father was also the child of poor New York City Jews. He too wanted to be an artist, and knowing this his aunt took him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Did my father become an artist because his aunt took him to the Met? Probably not. My father knew what he wanted to be, he was talented from an early age and even after dropping out of high school to work he pursued his passions. My father also felt it was important to recognize that great artists were born with genius, that artists weren’t like everyone else, that you could teach people a craft, and bring them joy, it just didn’t make them artists, not the kind of artist he wanted to be and knew he was.
"Still, lots of people have talent and don’t pursue their dreams or figure out how to do so.
"What are the differences?
"After talent there has to be opportunity, privilege and belief in one self. It helps to have connections, or know how to make them, something my father wasn’t great at. There is a lot of luck, though I’ll note here that my father didn’t want to believe in luck, and somehow the older I get the more wrong he seems.
"There is also drive, the willingness to pursue your art at the cost of most anything else, but does it also make a difference to have someone who cares and believes you can take that desire and skill and become something?
"It’s this question more than any that underlies two movies I recently watched, The Fabelmans and Armageddon Time by Steven Spielberg and James Gray, respectively. Yes, there’s certainly more going on in both, but at the center of these stories are young artists and the people who believe in them."